Thursday’s opening day of the Big Ten tourney featured a game-winning buzzer-beater (Illinois over Minnesota) and an upset (No. 10 Nebraska over No. 7 Purdue). Catch up on the best performances, numbers and highlights from the opening day of action at the United Center in this post.
This was no shock, as Iowa was expected to take care of business vs. the Wildcats. And, it did with efficiency. The Hawkeyes overwhelmed an undermanned Northwestern team with a balanced attack. This is a team on a mission, as Iowa fights for its first NCAA bid since 2006. The Hawkeyes have won three in a row and four of five.
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Eric May is no stranger to highlight-reel dunks. May has this dunk currently in our Big Ten Dunk of the Year tournament, plus several other impressive ones throughout his career. In Thursday’s Big Ten tourney game against Northwestern, May took flight again – for what was arguably his best dunk. This time, he went coast-to-coast and took off from the “B1G” logo in the key for a powerful one-hander. Watch the ridiculous slam here and see Twitter reaction in this post.
The emphatic Gus Johnson was a busy man during the first two games of the 2013 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament as he called both of BTN’s Thursday games with analyst Shon Morris. That duo will team up again to call Friday night’s games. Our BTN.com editors went ahead and stitched together some of Gus Johnson’s best calls from both Thursday games for the video compilation in this post.
Time and again, Nebraska got right to the rim for easy baskets off of drives. Tim Miles’ squad shot 44.7 percent and hit 12-of-17 free throws. Conversely, Purdue shot 40 percent and hit just 7-of-14 free throws. That basically was the difference in a close game. The Huskers had a two-point halftime lead that they pushed to 11 at one point in the second half.
Devyn Marble scored 19 points to help Iowa hold on for an important 73-59 victory over Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday night. Mike Gesell added 11 points, including a clinching three-point play with 1:41 left as the Hawkeyes (21-11) continued their late-season push for a spot in the NCAA tournament with their eighth victory in 10 games.